[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Fri Jan 15 16:14:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl>
To: Mud Dev Mailing list <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Friday, January 15, 1999 3:19 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills

>On Fri 15 Jan, J C Lawrence wrote:
>> On Wed, 13 Jan 1999 17:32:35 -0600
>> Koster, Raph<rkoster at origin.ea.com> wrote:
>> >> From: Marian Griffith
>>   1) Keep growing the game so that there is always room for the
>> inflationary sprial to grow into.  This means that the requirements
>> for the top levels of advancement must recede (become more
>> difficult) for the base player base at the same rate that the base
>> player base approaches them.
>If I understand what you are saying then I think this is *most*
>unkind to new players.

Not if the new player is presented with a character which resides at or
around the same level as the baseline. I am working on something like this;
literally, using the existing mean as a template for new players. If
everyone and his brother carries a battle axe when he started with a sword,
then a guy with a sword is *probably* at a disadvantage. The server should
recognise that new players need to be competitive with existing players, and
adjust. How to do this *fairly* is still at issue. ;)

>>   2) Something must devalue accumulated value (levels etc) such that
>> players ever fall down the ladder and thus retain something to
>> climb.
>Would it not be possible to shift players individually up and
>down the ladder, rather than all players at the same time, or
>is that what you are saying?

One of the "enhancements" to my rewrite of the AD&D rules was to make
experience points something you could spend. Certain things actually cost
experience, and once you used experience to acquire your level it was
considered "gone". The primary focus of this was spells, as it seemed
reasonably unfair that a mage could gather up several dozen scrolls and just
learn a bunch of spells. (The time expense was NOT working, as players
universally handwaved it: "I study scrolls for three years." "We wait for
him.") In compensation, the concept of the spell book and spell memorization
was discarded; you had fewer spells and a lower level in the end, but a
great deal more flexibility. Arguably, this was a positive change, provided
you saved the good news for last when you told the players about it. Players
have detested spell books for so long, just tack that onto the end of all
your bad news and they get happy: "Your characters all have leprosy. You are
slaves of the emperor and must perform for his amusement. He is mainly
amused by watching lepers burned at the stake. But you don't need spell
books!" ;)

>> The principle remains the same however, the game
>> is regeared to put everybody back at ground zero -- just without
>> making them feel that they've lost in the process (concentrate on
>> the new race/game instead of what is lost).

My game *resets*. You specifically set up your configuration, and nothing
happens until you apply it. Each zone can be reset individually, or the
entire game can be. When a specific zone is reset, all players in that zone
get shoved into another one. Anything they own in that zone is lost.

But... now there's virgin territory. Zones can get "played out" over time,
if players spend a lot of time there; enemy regeneration is limited by
existing power level, so if the enemy is sent packing often enough he will
eventually dwindle into obscurity. Likewise, if players *ignore* the enemy,
he will eventually snowball into an unstoppable force that will steamroll
through the universe like a vast engine of doom, leaving nothing survive in
his wake. Both situations are Bad and require a reset. This is a legacy
problem, and one which I am still deciding whether to maintain. There are
good points.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/
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